teen spirit

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE -

which was a se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tive work about a girl who be­lieves that her soul was stolen by a cat.

“ Lost At Sea was more se­ri­ous and in­ward-look­ing, while Scott Pil­grim is more out­ward.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to do mul­ti­ple things creatively, and Scott Pil­grim was a con­scious de­ci­sion to try and do some­thing that is also a dif­fer­ent as­pect of me,” he said.

Hence all the an­ime, video game ref­er­ences, the in­die mu­sic ref­er­ences and all the nerdy, geeky tit­bits found in the comic; in­clud­ing the videogame-es­que fight scenes in the book.

“When you’ve been play­ing Street Fighter your whole life, you al­ways have this il­lu­sion that you’ll be a great fighter when you get into that sort of sit­u­a­tion! That’s how it works in the book,” he said, be­fore ad­mit­ting that some ref­er­ences might alien­ate cer­tain read­ers who are not as clued into the geek cul­ture as oth­ers.

“I think many peo­ple were con­fused by it, es­pe­cially in the last book. But hope­fully peo­ple will still get it on the gut level.”

Bryan’s finest hour

Since the first vol­ume was pub­lished back in 2004, it’s been a grad­ual rise to the top for Scott Pil­grim. “The first book didn’t re­ally sell very well, we only sold about 600 copies in the be­gin­ning,” O’Mal­ley re­called.

“Word of mouth through the In­ter­net was a big fac­tor (in its in­crease in pop­u­lar­ity); and I also had some big comic guru – fa­mous writ­ers like Brian Michael Bendis, War­ren El­lis – who were big sup­port­ers in the early days and told their fans to check out Scott Pil­grim.”

It was only when the sec­ond vol­ume was pub­lished in 2005 that Scott Pil­grim re­ally be­gan to grow big­ger, and it cul­mi­nated when some­one handed Edgar Wright the books, and he snapped up the rights to adapt O’Mal­ley’s book af­ter only two vol­umes had been pub­lished.

While other comic-based movies tend to start shoot­ing af­ter the comic book is done (the re­cent Kick-Ass is prob­a­bly the only other ex­cep­tion to the norm), O’Mal­ley was still writ­ing the book as the movie was be­ing made.

“We started talk­ing about the movie very early on and I had to con­vince them that I knew what I was do­ing. So I wrote down ideas of what I had for the com­ing four books and from then on I was al­ready sure of what was go­ing to hap­pen,” he said. “But at the same time, talk­ing to Edgar and Michael (Ba­call, screen­writer) about the movie also gave me new ideas for the books. When­ever they had a scene they were not sure of, they’d call or e-mail me. I even ended up writ­ing some di­a­logue for some of the scenes.”

The se­ries’ fi­nal vol­ume, Scott Pil­grim’s Finest Hour, was only re­leased a few weeks be­fore the movie pre­miered; and O’Mal­ley ad­mit­ted that he did steal some de­signs from the movie for the book.

“I was work­ing on this book while I was there on set, so I stole some things back. I thought I was en­ti­tled to do so!” he said with a laugh. “I stole some of the de­signs, like the pyra­mid in the fi­nale ... it just seemed a lot eas­ier to steal stuff than to de­sign it my­self!”

Other than that, hav­ing a movie made con­cur­rently with his book didn’t af­fect his vi­sion for it at all. Af­ter all, be­ing the sole writer and artist on the se­ries and with no ma­jor man­age­ment big­wigs breath­ing down his neck, he had full con­trol over how he wanted it to be like.

“In be­gin­ning when not many peo­ple were read­ing it, I just did what­ever I wanted with it, and I’ve just con­tin­ued do­ing that (through­out the se­ries),” he said. “Edgar also re­spected my style, and the stu­dio didn’t in­ter­fere too much, so in the end, the movie is the same as the comic!”

All that hard work paid off im­mensely when O’Mal­ley watched the movie for the first time with 1,600 scream­ing fans at the San Diego Comic Con. “The re­sponse at the end of the movie was deaf­en­ing! Un­be­liev­able. That was def­i­nitely the emo­tional peak of the en­tire process!”

As Scott Pil­grim him­self would say: “SWEET! Let’s go make out! Or some­thing ...” n The en­tire Scot­tPil­grim se­ries is avail­able at Ki­noku­niya, KLCC.

Scott Pil­grim’s first meet­ing with Ra­mona Flow­ers, from vol­ume one of Bryan Lee O’Mal­ley’s Scot­tPil­grim graphic novel se­ries.

Kim Flow­ers, scream­ing the iconic open­ing line for Scott Pil­grim’s band SexBob-Omb.

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